Lee University to maintain Cleveland traffic island with monuments

Lee University to maintain Cleveland traffic island with monuments

June 27th, 2012 by Randall Higgins in News

A monument to Confederate soldiers overlooks a flower garden in the middle of North Ocoee Street in Cleveland, Tenn. At the city's request, Lee University's grounds crew will take over the landscaping and maintenance of the spot just across the street from the campus.

Photo by Randall Higgins /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- A North Cleveland landmark is getting a new landscaper.

The city asked Lee University if its grounds crews would take over landscaping and maintenance around the monuments on North Ocoee Street.

Ellie Phahl, the university's director of community relations, said the university began doing that Tuesday.

"As soon as the monument area is cleared out, our team will put the new landscaping in to kind of go with our campus landscaping," Phahl said.

City Parks and Recreation Director Patty Petitt said the plants there now will be transplanted to city parks.

The two monuments dominate a traffic island in the middle of North Ocoee Street at the Eighth Street NE intersection. The Jefferson Davis Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, erected the monuments in 1910 "to our known and unknown Confederate dead."

"It's a gateway to downtown," City Councilman David May said.

A 2004 downtown master plan developed by MainStreet Cleveland includes the monuments as a north entry into the downtown business district.

Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.